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Parasites And Cockroaches

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Parasites And Cockroaches

Right off the bat, we all got crabs, and when you get a crab, you don't get rid of them. You know, they have, back in those years, the way they used to get rid of crabs was with blue ointment. But now they have other stuff that's not quite so dangerous, there's mercury in blue ointment. Unless you have the correct stuff, you just can't get rid of crabs. I still had crabs four years later! We all did, until the Americans dropped supplies of stuff that we got rid of them. So the crabs were there and they were there to stay. We all had lice and the lice were there to stay for the four years, the same as the crabs. But in Hong Kong, both in North Point and over in Sham Shui Po, we had bed bugs, they're terrible. These guys march out like an army every damn night, they disappear in the daytime but they come at night. And you know, if you squash a bed bug they stink. One bad thing, you know what a bed bug, you ever smell one once, you never forget. You squash one and smell 'em, oh my God, they're terrible stinky things. But we had... and then... so we had the crabs, the lice and the bed bugs. Then there was the cockroaches. If you want to see a cockroach, go to Hong Kong. They got lots of cockroaches in these buildings in Canada here and they're about an inch long and they’re grey. These suckers, ain’t an inch long, they're from what three to three and a half, four inches long and they're big around like that. And it got to a point some of the guys were so hungry they were catching them things and making a little bit of an electric fire and roasting them, eating them. They're eating cockroaches.

Mr. Flegg describes crabs, lice, bedbugs and cockroaches, which were often roasted and eaten, as being persistent pests in the POW camps in Hong Kong.

Aubrey Flegg

Aubrey Flegg was born on October 18, 1917 in Welland, Ontario. His father moved the family to Northern British Columbia when he was three. Mr. Flegg describes living on a “stump farm”, and working from a very early age. Leaving home at sixteen, he trapped in winter and felled timber during warmer months. Mr. Flegg was married with a young family when the war started, but he enlisted out of patriotic duty. He joined Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry, and later reinforced the Winnipeg Grenadiers, thinking he would be going to Europe. Instead, Mr. Flegg found himself trying to defend Hong Kong from the Japanese against overwhelming odds. Imprisoned for four years, he survived the ravages of disease, starvation, abuse and forced labor in both North Point and Sham Shui Po Camps and the Oyama mines. Mr. Flegg offers an impassioned story of the Hong Kong experience.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Aubrey Flegg
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Winnipeg Grenadiers
Machine Gunner

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